Advertisement

Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

A Role for Reasoning in a Dialogic Approach to Critical Thinking

Abstract

We note the development of the widely employed but loosely defined construct of critical thinking from its earliest instantiations as a measure of individual ability to its current status, marked by efforts to better connect the construct to the socially-situated thinking demands of real life. Inquiry and argument are identified as key dimensions in a process-based account of critical thinking. Argument is identified as a social practice, rather than a strictly individual competency. Yet, new empirical evidence is presented documenting a role for individual reasoning competencies in supporting the effectiveness of argumentive discourse. A successful curriculum is described for employing extended engagement in dialogic argumentation as a pathway to development of individual argumentive skill.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Ahn W, Kalish C, Medin D, Gelman S (1995) The role of covariation versus mechanism information in causal attribution. Cognition 54:299–352

  2. Arum R, Roksa J (2011) Academically adrift: limited learning on college campuses. University of Chicago Press, Chicago

  3. Billig M (1987) Arguing and thinking: a rhetorical approach to social psychology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

  4. Byrnes J, Dunbar K (2014) The nature and development of critical-analytic thinking. Educ Psychol Rev 26:477–493

  5. College Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA) 2010 Institutional report and appendices. http://www.cae.org/content/procollegework.htm

  6. Crowell A, Kuhn D (2014) Developing dialogic argumentation skills: a three-year intervention study. J Cognit Dev 15:363–381

  7. Ennis RH (1987) A taxonomy of critical thinking dispositions and abilities. In: Baron JB, Sternberg RJ (eds) Teaching thinking skills: theory and practice. W. H. Freeman, New York, pp 9–26

  8. Gilbert M (1997) Coalescent argumentation. Erlbaum, Mahwah

  9. Goedert K, Harsch J, Spellman B (2005) Discounting and conditionalization: dissociable cognitive processes in human causal inference. Psychol Sci 16:590–595

  10. Goksun T, George N, Hirsh-Pasek K, Golinkoff R (2013) Forces and motion: how young children understand causal events. Child Dev 84:1285–1295

  11. Goldstein M, Crowell A, Kuhn D (2009) What constitutes skilled argumentation and how does it develop? Informal Logic 29:379–395

  12. Graff G (2003) Clueless in academe: how schooling obscures the life of the mind. Yale University Press, New Haven

  13. Grice HP (1975) Logic and conversation. In: Davidson D, Harman G (eds) The logic of grammar. Dickenson, Encino, pp 64–75

  14. Hersh R (2005) What does college teach? Atl Mon 296:140–143

  15. Kelley H (1973) The processes of causal attribution. Am Psychol 28:107–128

  16. King P, Kitchener K (1994) Developing reflective judgment: understanding and promoting intellectual growth and critical thinking in adolescents and adults. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco

  17. Koslowski B (1996) Theory and evidence: the development of scientific reasoning. MIT Press, Cambridge

  18. Kuhn D (1991) The skills of argument. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

  19. Kuhn D (1995) Microgenetic study of change: what has it told us? Psychol Sci 6:133–139

  20. Kuhn D (1999) A developmental model of critical thinking. Educ Res 28:16–25

  21. Kuhn D (2001) How do people know? Psychol Sci 12:1–8

  22. Kuhn D, Crowell A (2011) Dialogic argumentation as a vehicle for developing young adolescents’ thinking. Psychol Sci 22:545–552

  23. Kuhn D, Katz J (2009) Are self-explanations always beneficial?. J Exp Child Psychol 103:386–394

  24. Kuhn D, Pease M (2006) Do children and adults learn differently? J Cognit Dev 7:279–293

  25. Kuhn D, Pease M (2008) What needs to develop in the development of inquiry skills? Cognit Instr 26:512–559

  26. Kuhn D, Zillmer N, Crowell A, Zavala J (2013) Developing norms of argumentation: metacognitive, epistemological, and social dimensions of developing argumentive competence. Cognit Instr 31:456–496

  27. Kuhn D, Hemberger L, Khait V (2016) Argue with me: argument as a path to developing students’ thinking and writing, 2nd edn. Routledge, New York

  28. Larson A, Britt MA, Kurby C (2009) Improving students’ evaluation of informal arguments. J Exp Educ 77:339–366

  29. Laux J, Goedert K, Markman A (2010) Causal discounting in the presence of a stronger cue is due to bias. Psychon Bull Rev 17:213–218

  30. Macagno F, Paus E, Kuhn D (2015) Argumentation theory in education studies: coding and improving students’ argumentive strategies. Topoi 34:523–537

  31. Marin L, Halpern D (2011) Pedagogy for developing critical thinking in adolescents: explicit instruction produces greatest gains. Think Skills Creat 6:1–13

  32. McPeck J (1981) Critical thinking and education. Wiley, New York

  33. Mercier H, Sperber D (2011) Why do humans reason? Arguments for an argumentative theory. Behav Brain Sci 34:57–111

  34. Moshman D (2015) Epistemic cognition and development: the psychology of justification and truth. Psychology Press, New York

  35. Oaksford M, Chater N, Hahn U (2008) Human reasoning and argumentation: the probabilistic approach. In: Adler J, Rips L (eds) Reasoning: studies of human inference and its foundations. Cambridge University Press, New York

  36. Resnick LB, Michaels S, O’Connor C (2010) How (well structured) talk builds the mind. In: Sternberg R, Preiss D (eds) From genes to context: new discoveries about learning from educational research and their applications. Springer, New York

  37. Resnick L, Asterhan C, Clarke S (eds) (2015) Socializing intelligence through academic talk and dialogue. American Educational Research Association, Washington

  38. Rottman B, Hastie R (2014) Reasoning about causal relationships: inferences on causal networks. Psychol Bull 140:109–139

  39. Ryu S, Sandoval WA (2012) Improvements to elementary children’s epistemic understanding from sustained argumentation. Sci Educ 96:488–526

  40. Schworm S, Renkl A (2007) Learning argumentation skills through the use of prompts for self-explaining examples. J Educ Psychol 99:285–296

  41. Sternberg R, Roediger H, Halpern D (2006) Critical thinking in psychology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

  42. Szenes E, Tilakaratna N, Maton K (2015) The knowledge practices of critical thinking. In: Davies M, Barnett R (eds) The Palgrave handbook of critical thinking in higher education. Palgrave Macmillan, New York

  43. Trilling B, Fadel C (2009) Twentieth century skills: learning for life in our times. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco

  44. Van Gelder T (2005) Teaching critical thinking: some lessons from cognitive science. Coll Teach 53:41–46

  45. Wagner A (2008) Teaching and testing the skills that matter most. Educ Week 28:12–30

  46. Walton DN (1989) Dialogue theory for critical thinking. Argumentation 3:169–184

  47. Walton D (2014) Dialog theory for critical argumentation. John Benjamins, Amsterdam

  48. Williams J, Lombrozo T, Rehder R (2013) The hazards of explanation: overgeneralization in the face of exceptions. J Exp Psychol 142:1006–1014

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Deanna Kuhn.

Appendix: Dialogic Argumentation Assessments (from Kuhn et al. 2013)

Appendix: Dialogic Argumentation Assessments (from Kuhn et al. 2013)

Discourse Evaluation Assessment

Pat: Schools should do away with uniforms. They are a bad idea
Lee: I think students should have to wear uniforms because then they all look neat and orderly and it’s better for learning
Pat: Students get tired of wearing the same thing every day. They like to express themselves by looking different from one another. It shows their personality
Lee: They have other ways to make themselves look different besides clothing
Pat: Some families don’t have the money to buy uniforms
Lee: Schools usually have a fund for families who need help with school expenses

Discourse Construction Assessment

Ana Cruz and Maria Diaz are running for mayor of their troubled large city. Among the city’s problems are high housing costs, teen crime, traffic, school dropout, and unemployment. Chuck and Doug are TV commentators arguing about who is the better candidate. Write a script of what they might say. They are both experts on the city; they are both expert arguers and evenly matched. So your script should present the most well argued debate you can construct
Begin your script like this:
CHUCK: Cruz should be elected mayor because she’ll do better than Diaz
DOUG: I disagree, because xxxxxx
Then continue their argument, filling in what each one might say:
CHUCK: xxxxxx
DOUG: xxxxxxx
CHUCK: xxxxxx etc.
Here is some information about Cruz’ positions. She promises to:
 - create job training programs
 - expand city parks
 - raise teachers’ pay
 - open walk-in health clinics
 - reduce rents
 - impose a teen curfew
 - employ senior citizens in city schools
Here is some information about Diaz’ positions. She promises to:
 - improve public transportation
 - open more centers for senior citizens
 - revise the high school curriculum
 - build a new athletic stadium
 - improve health care
 - build more housing
(You are not required to include all these topics in your script.)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Kuhn, D. A Role for Reasoning in a Dialogic Approach to Critical Thinking. Topoi 37, 121–128 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11245-016-9373-4

Download citation

Keywords

  • Critical thinking
  • Argument
  • Curriculum
  • Assessment